J.J. Watt didn’t take long after the season ended to announce his retirement. He knew going into the season finale that was going to be it and made it official two days later.
The former Texans and Cardinals edge rusher has no regrets.
“I sit here, and I watch these [offseason] practices that these guys are going back to and I see the Instagram posts that these teams are putting out of them running through the bags and them doing the drills, and all I think to myself is, ‘I’m so glad I don’t have to be out there chasing those guys around and catch them,'” Watt told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday. “I haven’t run since the final game of the season, so that San Francisco game was the last time that I’ve run. I still lift. I still workout. But cardio has kind of taken a bit of a backseat. So, I don’t think I’m going to have any problems because it’s more of a matter of physically being able to do it and wanting to do it, and I don’t.
“I’m very at peace with my decision. I’m very at peace with how it all went down and how it all ended, and I don’t think I’m going to have any because I physically won’t be able to. I’m a guy who if I’m going to do it, I’m going to go out there to try and be the absolute best, and I know now that I’m not training that way; I’m not treating my body that way. So, I’m not going to put myself in a situation where I’m going to look like a fool either.”
Watt, a three-time defensive player of the year, had 12.5 sacks in 2022, giving him 114.5 for his career. It was the first time since 2018 that Watt had double-digit sacks.
He said he’s confident he could produce at that level again in 2023, but he doesn’t want to play anymore. Twelve years was enough.
“What I want to do is I want to spend time with my family. What I want to do is I want to explore some of these new opportunities,” Watt said. “And I always wanted to go out on a personal, productive note, so that people remember you as, ‘He can still do it.'”
Watt will become a first-ballot Hall of Famer, in the same class with Tom Brady unless one of them comes out of retirement. It doesn’t sound like that will be Watt, who is ready for the next thing.